At least once a week my husband or I (and usually both), look around our home and groan. We then get frustrated and make a feeble attempt to tidy up. We want a tidy home. We feel good when things are put away and the house is sparkly. But, at this phase of my life, I’ve accepted that it is simply not going to happen.
First, we homeschool. We are in the home more hours a day than the average bears. You’d think that’d mean we’d have more time to stay on top of the housework. You’d think wrong! Having at least 3 of us home for most hours of a day means that the house is getting used. Toys and books are taken out. Snacks and meals are being prepped, eaten, and (usually) cleaned up. School projects and science experiments and legos and paint supplies and a bazillion and one other things are being explored throughout the day. It’d be impossible to keep it all neat and tidy. And I used to feel a panicky pressure to keep up, but I’ve let that go. It only interfered with my own sanity, with the relationships with my family, and with my boys’ education.
Second, we have intense children. The children who are home are filled with insatiable curiosity, unending energy, constant creativity. All of these things are great. Except when they’re not. And they all require an extra amount of parenting attention from me. Which leaves the living room floor unattended.
Third, we have our middle child. And while she adds many fantastic things to our home, she is also a virtual black hole sucking family time and energy into her melting down abyss. It just disappears never to be seen again. Her needs are higher and I simply cannot consider cleaning the bathrooms while I’m either preventing or coping with a meltdown.
Keeping a home tidy and clean is difficult and time consuming under the best of circumstances. Keeping a home tidy and clean with 3 fringy kids is near impossible. If you’re reading this post, you most likely have those higher needs kiddos, too. And I give you permission to let it go. If you dig cleaning – go for it, by all means. And feel free to stop by my house and do it some more. But, for me, I’m choosing to let it go.
I’m fine that it’s lived in.
I’m fine that my kids get excited every time we vacuum because that must mean grandma’s coming over.
I’m fine paying our oldest to clean the bathrooms once a week and chocking that up to life skills study.
I’m fine with remembering that my soul has a limited amount of energy and I’m fine with choosing to exert that energy into building positive relationships and wearing shoes all the time to avoid the pain from the legos on the floor.
I’m fine with my messy house and I’m fine knowing that in 20 years, it will be clean, but just a little less lived in.